Ramsay's life celebrated at his funeral
Faith and basketball shaped his world, say guests who honored the memory of the late coaching great.
NAPLES, Fla. - Jack Ramsay's trophy case resembled his life - both were full.
With friends and family simultaneously mourning and celebrating his life, the Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA championship-winning coach was remembered at his funeral Mass yesterday as someone endlessly devoted to his family, fitness and faith. He died Monday at age 89, after fighting cancer in many forms for the final 15 years of his life.
Chris Ramsay delivered his father's eulogy, calling him "a basketball genius."
"His teams were an extension of himself," Chris Ramsay said. "They were smart and they outworked the opponent. He taught a team game, where sharing and giving was required. His game, when executed properly by the right personnel, was unbeatable . . . His trophy case collapsed under the weight of all the awards."
Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Phil Martelli and former referee Bob Delaney were among those attending from the basketball world, along with former coach Jim O'Brien, Ramsay's son-in-law.
Many broadcasting colleagues of the man best known as "Dr. Jack" were also at the funeral, inside St. John the Evangelist Church in southwest Florida.
"Basketball royalty," McAdoo said.
"My dad was special in so many ways," Chris Ramsay said. "He was a multifaceted man with many interesting sides to his personality and life. He had many names. He was John T. Ramsay, Coach Ramsay, Jack Ramsay, Dr. Jack, Dad and Pop. Each personality added to and complemented the other, each forming and shaping the other into one unbelievable man."